Beginners must develop basic volleyball skills before they can effectively compete in the sport as part of a team. You can help younger children develop those skills while playing some simple, fun games that help build each child's fundamental ability.
Balloon or Beach Ball Volleyball
You can teach young players how to dig, serve, set and spike while playing balloon or beach ball volleyball. This is a very slow game, but it teaches youngsters to move laterally to keep the play alive. It also allows them to concentrate on hitting correctly. You don't even need a net to play this game; you can position players in a circle and award 1 point for a correct hit and subtract 1 point for an illegal hit as the players scramble to keep the balloon or beach ball off the ground.
Position two players about 15 feet apart. Have each move the ball back and forth with proper passing technique, squatting under the ball and using only her fingertips to hit it. With younger and/or novice players, use a soft plastic ball instead of a volleyball. Call out the number of each correct hit. See how long they can go before double-hitting, palming or missing the ball. This drill teaches proper passing techniques.
Piggy in the Middle
Use cones or other markings to create two small boxed areas 10 to 15 feet apart. Put one player in each box and a player between the boxes. The players in the boxed areas volley the ball back and forth and the middle player tries to block the ball. The volley team gets 1 point for five consecutive legal volleys without either player leaving his box. The blocker gets a point for every block. The first to 5 points wins. This game teaches hitting and blocking skills.
Two-Player Under the Net
Divide your group into two-player teams, featuring a receiver and a hitter. Stand on one side of the net and line up the teams on the other side. The first two players stand parallel to the net, about 10 feet apart. Throw the ball to the receiver, who tries to propel the ball to the hitter. The hitter tries to hit the ball over the net. Either player can hit the ball one more time, if necessary, to get it over the net. If they fail, they lose one of their three lives and go to the end of the line. If they succeed, they come under the net. Once all the teams are on your side of the net or eliminated, switch sides and continue until only one team is left. Alternate receivers and hitters each round. When you get down to the last few teams, move them further from the net. This teaches the concepts of receiving, passing and hitting.
Split your group into two teams. Set up court dimensions suitable for the kids' age group and/or skill level. Have the players from one team spread out and lay down on the court in a stationary position. Players on the other team take turns serving into that court. Give the serving team 1 point for serving onto the court and 2 points for hitting one of the dead fish, er, players. Subtract 1 point for serves into the net or otherwise out of play. After two rounds of serving, have the teams reverse roles. This game teaches serving accuracy.
King or Queen of the Court
Divide your group into small teams or three or four players. Set up the court dimensions appropriately for your group. Have them play games of 3-on-3 or 4-on-4. Either team can win the point. The winning team stays on the court and serves. The losing team exits and the next group steps in. Teams rotate on and off the court quickly, keeping everybody busy. Players learn to hit into open areas and cover more court.